Study shows prevalence of ‘sensitive eyes’

January 28, 2012

 Nearly one in eight soft contact lens wearers reports having “sensitive eyes,” new research shows. The data also reveal that “sensitive eye” patients experience a greater incidence of discomfort symptoms, including dryness, redness, and stinging or burning compared to ‘non-sensitive eye’ patients and that many such patients may benefit by being refit with Acuvue® Oasys® Brand Contact Lenses with Hydraclear® Plus Technology (senofilcon A). The findings were presented at the American Academy of Optometry meeting.

“This study demonstrates that many patients who appear clinically normal may be struggling with symptoms of ocular discomfort,” says study co-author Sheila Hickson-Curran, MCOptom, director, Medical Affairs, Vistakon® Division of Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc. “By simply asking patients whether they consider their eyes to be ‘sensitive,’ doctors can initiate a conversation that will help them provide better contact lens options and, ultimately, better care to their patients.”

A database of 2,166 current soft contact lens wearers who were defined as ‘normal’ as they entered the clinical trials was used to estimate the prevalence of “sensitive” or “very sensitive” eyes. Patients who answered “sensitive” or “very sensitive” to the question, “How would you describe the sensitivity of your eyes?” were placed into the sensitive eyes group. In the second part of the study, 63 of the sensitive eye patients were refitted with Acuvue® Oasys® Brand lenses and reassessed two weeks later. Approximately one in eight (12.2 percent) soft contact lens wearers reported “sensitive” or “very sensitive eyes,” but nearly half (48 percent) of patients reported at least some degree of sensitivity (“very sensitive,” “sensitive,” or “slightly sensitive”). 

The prevalence of frequent or constant dryness, redness and stinging/burning is higher in the sensitive eye population than in the non-sensitive eye group, with 46 percent reporting at least one of these symptoms. In addition, average comfortable wearing time was significantly shorter among patients with sensitive eyes compared to those with non-sensitive eyes.

The study was supported by funding from Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, Inc.

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